Toontown Online official logo
|Publisher(s)||The Walt Disney Company|
|Distributor(s)||The Walt Disney Company|
|Release date(s)||Beta: August 2001,
LE: October 4, 2002,
Official Opening: June 2, 2003
Closure: September 19, 2013
|Genre(s)||massively multiplayer online role-playing game|
Disney's Toontown Online was a children's massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) created by The Walt Disney Company. Toontown was founded in August 2001 and was officially released to the public in June 2003. Toontown's 3D virtual world had a very similar theme to the colorful style and humor of classic animated cartoons. The game was rated "E" (Everyone) by the ESRB for "Cartoon Violence" and "Comic Mischief". Disney's Toontown Online closed on September 19, shortly after Disney released a statement that the company would be shifting its focus to other online and mobile play experiences.
According to the game's story, which was shown through a video in the old installer for the game, Scrooge McDuck was visiting Gyro Gearloose, an inventor, in the outskirts of a city known as Toontown. Gyro wasn't in his lab, but Scrooge stumbled upon a giant robot. Scrooge, the greedy billionaire, thought he could sell this robot to help the citizens of Toontown and earn a large profit. He connected a couple of loose wires to activate the robot, which turned evil and took control of Gyro's assembly line. He created the Cogs, a line of robots that had the sole desire to destroy anything fun and run large corporations and businesses. The first Cog, the one Scrooge awoke, is seen to be approaching Scrooge at the end of the video, but the game does not feature Scrooge or this first robot in any way.
Apart from this intro video, which was not included in future versions of the game's installer or launcher, no central plot existed in Toontown. The main goal was simply to destroy as many of the Cogs as possible. However, there were "ToonTasks", allowing the player to do a specific task in order to level up, and progress further into the game.
The player, when starting the game for the first time, had six “slots” with which they could create six different toons. Selecting one of the empty slots would direct the player to “Create-A-Toon,” the creation process for the player's Toon. Players were able to customize their Toons in various shapes, clothes, colors and sizes, but notably in different species as well, consisting of cats, dogs, ducks, mice, pigs, rabbits, bears, horses and monkeys. The player was then able to use a pre generated name or type a name for their toon. After finishing the creation of their toon, the player had an option of going through the tutorial, where they would learn the basics of the game.
Each player also had a “Laff Meter,” which acted as a health meter. A Toon would run out of health, or “Laff,” and become sad typically during battles when Cogs would decrease a player’s Laff with attacks. However, players could also lose Laff by interacting with obstacles such as moving trains.
Playgrounds were the areas of Toontown that were permanently safe from Cogs. In the playgrounds, Toons could receive new Toontasks, turn in completed tasks, purchase gags, play trolley games, and go fishing. Each playground featured one of Disney's classic animated characters (Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, or Chip 'n Dale) as an NPC.
Players also used the Playgrounds to regain Laff after they have become injured in battle. Toons did not die but rather became "sad"; a sad player teleported to the nearest playground automatically to heal and restock gags. Playgrounds healed players slowly, but scattered around them were various "treasures", which gave Laff when collected.
There was a playground in each "neighborhood" of Toontown: Toontown Central, Donald's Dock, Daisy Gardens, Minnie's Melodyland, The Brrrgh, Donald's Dreamland, Goofy's Speedway, and Chip n' Dale's Acorn Acres. Each playground and neighborhood shared a unique look. The looks were given with a character, and a theme to match the name of the neighborhood. Each playground, except for Goofy Speedway & Acorn Acres, connected to two or more neighborhood streets. The difficulty increased with each neighborhood.
Every neighborhood also had it’s own set of “Toontasks” to complete. Advancement in the game required completing “Toontasks”, tasks or “missions” assigned by the NPCs. Every Toontask had an award for completion, such as additional Laff points, jellybeans, and a variety of other benefits. Toontasks were mainly acquired and handed in to the Toon Headquarters located nearly every playground.
Every Toontown account came with a player’s estate. An estate is where the player’s home was located and several other activities could have been performed. Each estate consisted of six houses for each player on the account, one fishing pond and a wheelbarrow which allows players to sell flowers. A player’s house is where the player lived. Each house contained features like a phone, a wardrobe, a jellybean bank and furniture that could be purchased from Clarabelle’s Cattlelog, a catalog. Other elements of the estate included Doodles, gardening, fishing, cannons and mailboxes.
The Cogs were robots who only cared about business and could not take a joke. They were bent on forever changing Toontown to a gray place where no fun existed. Cogs came in four types: Bossbots, Lawbots, Cashbots, and Sellbots. They came in varying levels that represented how strong they were, ranging from Level 1 to Level 12. The Bossbot HQ had also introduced "v2.0" Cogs, which were regular Cogs that became "Skelecogs" when their outer shell was destroyed. Goons were another type of Cog that functioned as patrol robots but could be stunned when jumped upon. If a player were to walk into the beam of light that a goon projects, they would lose Laff.
When summoned, a Cog invasion would take place which would make it so the only Cogs that appeared were the invading type of Cog in most areas. An invasion could be either a random occurrence or summoned by a player.
Skelecogs were Cogs that didn’t have their outer Cog shell and were made up of metal frames. Skelecogs were only found in Cog Headquarters. Aside from looking different than a normal Cog, there was no difference in attacks between a Skelecog and a normal Cog of the same type.
The game was largely centered around Cog battles, in which players had to use their 'gags' to destroy the evil robot Cogs. Cogs were battled using a timed turn-based combat system with up to four toons. During a Cog battle, a player would select any gag among the gag tracks they possessed, call a friend for assistance, or use any special moves they might have. A Cog's health was displayed by the color of the light on the Cog’s chest.
Cog buildings were a feature in Toontown where one to four players would work together to defeat a series of Cogs in a building. Cog buildings were created when Cogs entered Toon buildings, located on the streets, and would subsequently take over them.
The type of Cog that took over the building determined the outer look of the building as well as the types of Cogs that would occupy the building.
After defeating each set of Cogs and ascending floor to floor, the Cogs would become harder. If the top floor was reached, the players would face the Cog "boss" of the building, which was generally the highest level Cog in the building.
After the boss was defeated, the players would gain credit for the Cogs they destroyed. The building would then convert back to its state before being taken over. If the players did not successfully conquer a floor and went sad, the Cog building would remain at the same place.
Generally, higher level buildings could be found in more difficult areas. Special types of Cog Buildings called Field Offices included a mini game and a special reward upon completion. A player could earn either a bronze, silver, gold, or spinning star above their head by defeating a set number of Cog buildings.
As players became more experienced in the game, they could play in the four “Cog Headquarters” (Cog HQ) in the game. Each Cog HQ represented a different Cog type, with only Cogs of its type being found in them. Each HQ also had a Cog Boss, who could be fought with up to eight players.
- Sellbot HQ - The first Cog HQ a player would be tasked in was Sellbot HQ. Located there was the Factory, where players had to collect Merits in order to fight the Vice President (VP). Battling the V.P involved throwing pies at the boss until he fell over the edge. The reward was rescuing a Shopkeeper, who could be summoned to help in other battles.
- Cashbot HQ - Later in the game, players would enter Cashbot HQ, filled with Mints and trains that would run players over, decreasing their Laff. Mints were places where players could collect Cogbucks, currency needed to battle with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Players used cranes to pick up Goons to stun the CFO, then another player would damage him with a safe. Eventually the CFO would attempt to leave, but get run over by a train on his way out. Players would then receive a Unite Speedchat phrase, which would give players special aids like Gags, Laff or jellybeans.
- Lawbot HQ - In Lawbot HQ resided the Chief Justice (CJ). In order to fight him, players had to collect Jury Notices from District Attorney offices. During the courthouse battle, players had to shoot NPCs out of a cannon into the jury seats. After this round, they threw Evidence into a scale. Cogs would throw their own evidence on the other side of the scale, but could be stunned by throwing Evidence at them. Outweighing the scale enough in the players’ favor would win the battle, and the CJ would admit defeat. The reward for victory was a Cog Summons, which would allow players to either summon a Cog, Cog Building or Cog Invasion, depending on the summons received.
- Bossbot HQ - The final and most difficult HQ was a large golf clubhouse designed for Cogs. The area included three Cog Golf Courses, where players would participate in mini games and engage Cogs in battle in order to collect Stock Options. After collecting enough Stock Options, players could attempt to defeat the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO battle consisted of a dining round, where players would have to serve Cogs enough food to make them explode, and a seltzer bottle round, where players would shoot seltzer bottles at the CEO on tables to deplete his health. Winners would receive Pink Slips, which when used would instantly defeat a Cog in battle.
“Gags” — silly pranks that are reflective of the slapstick humor found in classic cartoons, were the tools used to destroy the Cogs in Cog battles. There were a total of seven gag tracks: toon-up, trap, lure, sound, throw, squirt, and drop. Each gag track consisted of seven gags. Players were only allowed to have six gag tracks, two of which were given at the start of the game. Each gag track had it’s own unique properties and powers. The properties of every gag track could have been used with each other in Cog battles to the player’s advantage or disadvantage to encourage teamwork. Gag tracks were obtained by completing a number of Toontasks to train for the selected track.
Toontown offered several non-combat activities for players. These allowed players to earn jellybeans, additional Laff points, and other bonuses to use in the game.
Trolley games were short, arcade-like minigames that players could play solo or with up to three others. These mini-games could be found at the Trolley Station in most playgrounds. Players would earn jellybeans based on their performance. Some games could only be played by two or more players. Each neighborhood had a different difficulty level for the Trolley Games.
On Trolley Track Thursdays and Silly Saturdays, players could use points to vote which game to play based on how many jellybeans they obtained during the previous game. Trolley Tracks was removed from the game in May 2012.
One of the many activities that Toontown hosted was fishing. There were fishing ponds in most playgrounds, on every street of Toontown, and at every player's estate, with four docks at each pond. Players would catch fish and then sell them for jellybeans to an NPC, either a Fisherman or a Pet Shop Clerk. Fish species ranged from common to very rare. Players could earn Laff points by catching a number of different species. Some Toontasks required players to catch certain items.
Every Wednesday, there would be an event called "Bingo Wednesday," where Toons at each pond would share a bingo board which they would try to complete it by catching different fish species before the timer runs out. The first to call “Bingo!” wins a jellybean prize.
Players could grow and maintain a garden of flowers, statues, and "gag trees" at their estates. The gags picked from the gag trees would have higher damage capability in battle. Different species of flowers could be grown by planting different combinations of jellybeans in planters surrounding players’ houses. Players could earn Laff points by discovering so many new flower types. Fully grown flowers could be sold at a nearby wheelbarrow for jellybeans.
Toons could race against each other in Goofy’s Speedway, an area that consisted of different race tracks, as well as a shop that sold karts and kart accessories. Unlike most other purchases in the game, the Goofy Speedway shop required the use of tickets, which were earned depending on a player's ending position in a race. Players collected and used items during races to assist them in winning. Collecting trophies by race performance would give players Laff points. Every Monday, the Grand Prix tournament was held, in which players could win more tickets than usual as well as special trophies.
Located at Chip'n’Dale's Mini Golf, members could play miniature golf by themselves or against others to earn trophies and Laff points. There were three courses, each varying in length and difficulty.
Players could host parties. These half-hour parties could be public or private. Party activities included such things as music, mini-games and fireworks. To host or attend a party, players could go inside party gates located in almost every playground. Parties would cost jellybeans to host, with added activities costing more.
Doodles were bean-shaped pets that players could buy at a Pet Shop using jellybeans. Doodles could perform tricks, which would increase a player’s Laff. Players could summon their pets to perform a trick in battles, but at a cost of one turn. They varied in personality and agility, with more expensive ones being more productive.
Accessories were items used to decorate a player’s Toon. Shoes, bows, glasses, backpacks, and hats were the different types of accessories a player could purchase from Clarabelle’s Cattlelog. In order to obtain and equip accessories, players would have to purchase an accessory trunk.
Disney hosted special events occurring on certain dates, seasons and days of the week. Silly Saturdays occurred every Saturday, when Fish Bingo, Trolley Tracks and Grand Prix would take place. Near Halloween, players who created cat Toons could make them black cats during the tutorial. During special holidays, areas of the game would be decorated and specials items could be purchased with jellybeans for a limited time.
Online Safety Features
Toontown Online was marketed towards and developed for children. Therefore, a chat restriction was placed on the game. Players could only chat using "SpeedChat," which was a list of pre-approved phrases set by Disney that the player could select. It included general English phrases, in-game strategy phrases, and, occasionally, seasonal phrases. Players could purchase more SpeedChat phrases using jellybeans. "SpeedChat Plus" and "True Friends" were introduced some time after the game's release, which had to be enabled using a parental account if the player was under 13 years of age. SpeedChat Plus allowed the player to type their own messages against a word filter developed by Disney; if a word was not allowed, it was replaced with an onomatopoeia of that player's Toon's species. True Friends allowed players to chat with a less-restrictive filter with certain friends whom have shared a "True Friend code" with each other.
Toontown Online featured two types of accounts: free accounts, and paid member accounts. Originally, free accounts were only allowed three days of unrestricted gameplay before being forced to pay for a membership. This was changed to allow free players to play for an unlimited time with certain restrictions on the game. These restrictions originally meant that Toons were bound to the starting neighborhood (Toontown Central) and its buildings and streets, as well as Goofy Speedway where the racing events took place. Toons were also only allowed to complete Toontasks up until the final one that would allow them access to their third gag track. This was changed to allow free players to roam in the streets of all of the neighborhoods and to complete the final Toontask for the third gag track. However, free players could still only enter buildings in Toontown Central and were not allowed to enter the Cogs HQ’s or Cog buildings outside of Toontown Central. Paid members were allowed complete and unrestricted gameplay for the duration of their subscription. Options included monthly, semi-annually, and annually subscriptions. This unlocked access to things such as house furniture, golfing, and access to Cog HQs and buildings outside of Toontown Central.
- Not to be confused with Walt Disney's Hometown Toonfest held annually in Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri.
Disney organized two real-life gatherings for Toontown fans called ToonFest. ToonFest included themed activities and games, trivia and costume contests, previews of upcoming features for the game, and developer Q&A panels. The first gathering, ToonFest 2006, was held at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California , while ToonFest 2007 was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. No future ToonFests were ever announced.
Toontown Online has won several awards, including:
- Computer Gaming World, 2003 MMORPG Game of the Year
- Webby Awards, 2003 People's Voice Award, Kids Category
- Parents' Choice Foundation, 2003 Silver Honor
- Children's Software Review, 2003 All Star Software Award
- WiredKids, 2005 Safe Gaming Award
- 2008 Webby Awards "Webby Worthy Selection"
On August 20, 2013, Disney announced that after 10 years of operation, Disney's Toontown Online was being shut down. The game remained open for a month after the announcement, finally closing on September 19, 2013. As soon as this announcement was made, every player was given membership for the remaining time of the game. As an effect, membership was no longer able to be purchased and players were not allowed to register new accounts. Disney stated during a press release that their reasoning for closing the game was to shift their focus to Club Penguin as well as mobile applications. The website was updated with a FAQ after the game's closure to inform visitors of Toontown's discontinue.
- "Work vs. Play: The Story Behind Disney's Toontown Online". Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Disney's Toontown Online To Launch June 2003" (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-01-11.[dead link]
- Mine, Mark; Shochet, Joe; Hughston, Roger (2003). "Building a massively multiplayer game for the million: Disney's Toontown Online." (PDF). Computers in Entertainment (ACM Press) 1: 15. doi:10.1145/950566.950589. Retrieved 2006-04-03.
- "ESRB Rating: Toontown Toons could participate (Sellbot VP, Cashbot CFO, etc.)".
- "Toontown - How the Cogs Were Made (Old Download Intro)". The Walt Disney Company=14 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- "Ziggy Artist, Other Cartoonists, Gather For Tribute at Disney Birthplace" (Press release). Walsh Public Relations. 2005-09-12. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- "Thousands of 'Toons' to Gather at Disney Studios in Burbank for FirstEver 'ToonFest'; Disney Channel Stars Among Attendees at August 26th Fan Event Dedicated to Disney's Toontown Online" (Press release). Disney Online, a division of the Walt Disney Internet Group. 2006-08-25. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- "Disney's Toontown Online Hosts ToonFest 2007" (Press release). Disney Online, a division of the Walt Disney Internet Group. 2007-08-04. Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- "Toontown Closing FAQs". Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- Toontown Online USA official website (English) - Closed as of September 19, 2013
- Toontown Online BR official website (Portuguese) - Closed as of August 31, 2011
- Toontown Online FR official website (French) - Closed as of September 30, 2009
- Toontown Online JP official website (Japanese) - Closed as of August 31, 2010
- Toontown Online UK official website (English) - Coupled with Toontown USA as of August 1, 2010
- Toontown Online SEA official website (English) - Closed as of February 15, 2009
- Toontown Online Test Server (English)
- Disney's Toontown Online guide at StrategyWiki